Boeing assembly workers earn $10 more in Wash. than in S.C.

Yes, Boeing spends a lot less on an assembly worker’s wages in South Carolina than one in metro Puget Sound.

Workers here earn about $10 more an hour than their counterparts do in North Charleston, S.C., according to analysis by the Charleston Post and Courier.

Boeing workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in Washington earn an average of $30.67 per hour, according to the union.

A scheduled 2 percent raise in September will bring that up $31.28 an hour, which means a base salary of $65,062 a year. Machinists often earn more by working overtime and weekend shifts.

The IAM’s District Lodge 751 represents about 32,000 Boeing employees in metro Puget Sound and Portland.

Boeing says that its South Carolina production and maintenance workers earn an average of $20.59 per hour, or $42,827 a year, the Post and Courier reports.

According to federal data, that is actually just below the Charleston region’s average pay of $20.62 per hour, but higher than the average pay of $19.33 per hour for production workers in the area, the paper reports.

However, Boeing plans to give those workers a 1.9 percent raise this fall, which will bring the hourly wage to $20.99 per hour, or $43,659 a year.

Their pay has increased nearly 19 percent over the past three years, a company spokeswoman told the Post and Courier.

Higher wages is one of the things that IAM officials say they can deliver for Boeing’s 3,175 union-eligible South Carolina workers. Those employees will vote April 22 on whether to join the union.

Better working conditions, grievance processes and benefits are among the union’s other selling points.

Boeing officials have pushed back, saying that joining the IAM will cost workers dues but it won’t deliver much benefit.

A brochure given to employees argues that the company’s South Carolina workers are already well compensated, according to Charleston Region Business Journal.

The brochure put total compensation — including overtime, benefits, paid time off and different shift rates — at an average of $80,000, the journal reports.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454;; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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